Twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital, killing at least 32 people and wounding dozens, officials said. The rare suicide bombing hit the Bab al-Sharqi commercial area in central Baghdad amid heightened political tensions over planned early elections and a severe economic crisis. Blood was splattered on the pavement of the busy market amid piles of clothes and shoes as survivors took stock of the disarray in the aftermath.
No one immediately took responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi military officials said it was the work of the Islamic State group. Iraq’s health minister Hassan Mohammed al-Tamimi said at least 32 people were killed and 110 were wounded in the attack. He said some of the wounded were in serious condition. Iraq’s military previously put the number of dead at 28. The Health Ministry announced that all of its hospitals in the capital were mobilized to treat the wounded.
A powerful gas explosion tore through a residential building in central Madrid, killing four people and ripping the facade off the structure. A tower of smoke rose from the building, where repairs were being done to a gas boiler, and billowed through Toledo Street, near the city’s centre. Aerial footage shared by Spain’s National Police showed rubble covering a nearby schoolyard — though Madrid’s mayor said no one was seriously injured at the school.
All students and staff were inside the school buildings at the time of the blast. At least 11 people were injured in the explosion, one seriously, the Madrid emergency service said in a tweet. The Spanish government’s representative for the Madrid region, José Manuel Franco, confirmed three casualties and the Catholic parish that owned the damaged building said the fourth victim was an electrician, a father of four, who was working on the boiler and had initially been considered missing.
China’s highest-profile entrepreneur, Jack Ma, appeared in an online video, ending a 2 1/2-month absence from public view that prompted speculation about the future of the e-commerce billionaire and his Alibaba Group. In the 50-second video, Ma congratulated teachers supported by his foundation and made no mention of his disappearance or official efforts to tighten control over Alibaba and other internet companies over the past six months. The video appeared on Chinese business news and other websites.
The normally voluble Ma disappeared from public view after he irked regulators by criticizing them in an Oct. 24 speech at a Shanghai conference. Days later, regulators suspended the planned multibillion-dollar stock market debut of Ant Group, a financial platform that grew out of Alibaba’s payments service, Alipay. That prompted speculation online about whether the 56-year-old Ma, China’s biggest global business celebrity and a symbol of its tech boom, had been detained or might face legal trouble.
The Kremlin brushed aside calls from the West to release opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested upon his return to Russia from Germany following treatment for poisoning with a nerve agent. Moscow called his case “an absolutely internal matter.” Navalny blames his poisoning on President Vladimir Putin’s government, which has denied it. The condemnations of his arrest and the calls from abroad for his release have added to the existing tensions between Russia and the West.
Some European Union countries are suggesting more sanctions against Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that they can’t and are not going to take these statements into account. “We are talking about a fact of noncompliance with the Russian law by a citizen of Russia. This is an absolutely internal matter and we will not allow anyone to interfere in it and do not intend to listen to such statements,” Peskov said.